If you’ve been following Nintendo’s fiscal situation, you’d know this wasn’t an overly pleasant week for company president Satoru Iwata, especially when it comes to the status of the Wii U.
Investor’s were told the company is lowering its fiscal climate
expectations for the current fiscal year (which in ends in March), with a fairly deep cut in expected Wii U sales. Nintendo was originally expecting to move 5.5 million Wii U units, now it turns out the company is only expecting to move 4 million and this number could be lower since only 3.06 million have been sold thus far.
Iwata would later apologize for these lower than expected sales figures during an investor relations meeting
held the following day and would also take full responsibility for what has happened.
"As [Nintendo senior managing director] Yoshihiro Mori has already briefed you on our forecast for this fiscal year, you are aware that we cannot help posting operating losses for two consecutive fiscal years. We feel greatly accountable for this severe outlook."
However, he also stressed the faith Nintendo has in the console’s success based on the feedback from satisfied customers but he also recognizes a slight change in strategy is needed to move additional units.
“Those who purchased [the Wii U], although there are issues to be addressed, have shown a certain degree of satisfaction with our product value, but since its value by nature is something that takes time to appreciate and hence cannot be spread amongst society instantly, we have yet to communicate its value to the wider public."
What does this mean? Well, later on in the meeting, Mr. Iwata further elaborated on these comments when he said, “We are putting our lessons from Nintendo 3DS to good use, as I have already publicly stated."
Before anyone asks, no. He isn’t talking about a price drop. In fact, he’s very adamantly against a price drop
. What he was referring to is a newly increased focus on marketing.
“Given that it has now become clear that we have not yet fully communicated the value of our product, we will try to do so before the software line-up is enhanced and at the same time work to enrich the software lineup which could make consumers understand the appeal of Wii U."
While I still hold the belief that a small price drop would help, I do think a hefty marketing blitz is certainly a great idea (it’s been working well for the 3DS) and personally I think its overdue. How many Wii U TV ads have you seen since Christmas?
Although, I think the company should definitely give the “play exclusively on the GamePad” feature a harder push, especially given the slight lack of games (other than NSMBU and ports and perhaps Tank! Tank! Tank!) that are currently available. Seriously, its quite astonishing how a feature parents and anyone else who shares a TV would find greatly appealing is so underplayed in the mainstream ads. When more blockbusters like Lego City Undercover, The Wonderful 101, and Pikmin 3 begin to come out, that’ll be the time to begin putting the bigger emphasis on the software line-up.
I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, “Even though I don’t think it’ll catch on like the Wii did, I have faith in the Wii U”. I know it’s a bit on the gimmicky side, but it’s also a great piece of technology and there’s plenty of potentially great games making their way onto the platform. But in order for it be a success, Nintendo is really going to have to make a huge effort get gamers and developers from all walks of life to hop on board.
I especially say this now since Iwata’s current goal is for Nintendo to earn a 100 billion yens worth of operating profit in the next fiscal year. Considering the company is primed to make a 14 billion profit this year, he has quite a tall mountain to climb.
Here’s hoping he can reach the peak.